258. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • President Ford
  • Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, Secretary of State
  • Brent Scowcroft, Assistant to the President

[Omitted here is discussion unrelated to the Arab-Israeli dispute.]

[Kissinger:] I saw Rabin for breakfast. Basically Rabin wants to stalemate, but he will make an offer to Syria and Egypt, but not Jordan. He says that [Jordan] would give him monumental problems. But that is impossible. He can’t shut out the PLO and not deal with Jordan either. He said if the U.S. wasn’t so weak we could stonewall. I said we couldn’t stonewall no matter how strong we were.

President: How do we proceed today?

Kissinger: I could summarize our talk, so you don’t have to light into him. Then you could tell him (1) we can’t be passive this year; (2) we don’t have to have a solution, but we have to show activity; and (3) you will not make decisions based on electoral politics.

Bunny Lasker2 said things have really turned around—many are joining in.

President: I thought the atmosphere was positive at the dinner last night.

Kissinger: Actors are very sensitive to public opinion. They couldn’t come out with positive statements if there were doubts.

Herb Schlosser3 said the polls are really turning up.

President: What was the reaction about the military equipment?

Kissinger: There is some grumbling but he is happy.

Scowcroft: There is no doubt they are pleased with the list.

Kissinger: I would tell him you overruled most of your advisors to give him what you did.

Our optimum course is to go to the PLO. Any other year I would do it. But maybe we could get by with an offer of massive withdrawals with Syria, Egypt, and Jordan, in exchange for non-belligerency.

[Page 914]

He doesn’t want Sisco and Toon to know, but he is thinking of calling an election. That is not a bad idea. He has promised an election on the West Bank anyway.

He also said he would move some Golan settlements in exchange for non-belligerency.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Records of Henry Kissinger, 1973–77, Box 16, Nodis Memcons, January 1976, Folder 3. Secret; Nodis. The meeting was held in the Oval Office at the White House. All brackets, with the exception of ones describing omitted material, are in the original.
  2. Bernard J. “Bunny” Lasker was a Republican Party fundraiser.
  3. Herbert Schlosser was President of the National Broadcasting Company.